The word FREEDOM is a wonderful concept even for our doggy friends and family members. Doggys love to run, play, and explore the world without the hindrance of a leash. There is nothing quite as beautiful and exhilarating as watching doggys take off through an open field – their powerful, long strides, muscles glistening as they race each other through the tall grass. What fun! Freedom is great!
However, letting your doggy off the leash can be dangerous and disrespectful to your community. In general, it is not recommended to let your dog off the leash unless you are in an enclosed area. Your doggy must be properly trained to behave well and stay right by your side or under your voice control at all times when it is off the leash.
Before letting your doggy off the leash, you need to consider a number of factors that may jeopardize its safety and that of others around you. For instance, many cities and towns have leash laws in place to keep everyone safe. If you choose to break the law, be prepared for fines and citations at the very least.
In addition, keep in mind that even the most well-trained doggy can get distracted. A loose doggy may see another doggy or a prey animal run after it out of instinct. Some doggys may become spooked by a loud noise and run off in fear. Once your doggy is out of your sight, even if only for a moment, it is in potential danger or may end up causing trouble.
TRAIN BASIC COMMANDS
There is no way to guarantee your doggy’s safety if you choose to let it off the leash. However, advanced training can help decrease the chances of your doggy getting in harm’s way. Begin by establishing a solid foundation of obedience training.
Your doggy should master basic commands:
Loose leash walking
Heel (both on and off the leash)
Go to its place
A reliable recall
Look (watch me)
A reliable emergency recall
TIPS IN OFF LEASH TRAINING
Practice your recall with one distraction at a time, starting with the easiest distraction on the list and progressing to the most challenging. Practice at the easiest level until your doggy will come happily each time he is called in spite of the distraction.
If you have a doggy with a lot of experience in not coming when called, you may have greater success starting over with recall training. Pretend that you’ve never trained a recall before. Pick a new word and start training from the beginning. You’ll find that your doggy will progress faster than if you try to re-teach using the same word.
Pay attention to what distracts your doggy. This is another time when it may be helpful to make a list. Write down what your doggy finds distracting and rank those distractions from easiest to overcome to those that are the most difficult.
Practice each level of distraction in a variety of places – the more places the better. For example, for a puppy who is distracted by a leaf on the ground, practice with a leaf as a distraction in your living room. Then practice with a leaf as a distraction in a bedroom, the kitchen, and the garage.
If you know your doggy cannot resist a response to certain stimuli, then you must understand the risks when it is off leash. If you have any doubts, it’s best to keep the leash. You can, however, consider a long lead to give your dog space to explore or take it to fenced-in areas where it can safely play off-leash. Even with the best training, there is no way to guarantee the safety of an off-leash dog. Despite your best efforts, your furry friend may still wander into the path of danger.